The self-proclaimed “King of the South” has returned again with his ninth studio album, Paperwork, first in a trilogy and a spiritual successor to his 2008 effort (and arguably his most popular album) Paper Trail. T.I. has given himself quite a goal, and hence has recruited Mr. “Happy” himself, Pharrell Williams, to executive produce the project, even moving to the same label to facilitate it. However, it’s ironic that, following a single called “No Mediocre”, his album is so middling.
Twilight. The Hunger Games. Divergent. All names of film series, fantasy / science fiction based, with romantic slants, adapted from books that I absolutely cannot stand. There are many reasons for this, whether it be that they’re terribly written, terribly acted, or that the proponents of said films are the most annoying people on the planet, caricatures of the American teen. So you can imagine my joy in finding myself watching yet another teen sci-fi romp: The Maze Runner.
It’s that time of the console generation again. After 3 home runs with the Smash Bros. series on Nintendo 64, GameCube and Wii, Nintendo returns with another instalment overseen by Masahiro Sakurai and developed by Namco Bandai, but with a twist in that the game was co-developed for both 3DS and Wii U. While we have to wait a couple more months to get the Wii U version, we already have what many people have brushed aside as the “watered-down” version of the game.
Breaking Bad, arguably one of the greatest shows in television history, ended over a year ago. By the end of its run, the show had taken the Netflix generation by storm (in essence inventing binge-watching), made its cast and crew basically the most bankable in television, and has now spawned a spin-off in Better Call Saul. In fact, its meteoric rise can be seen in the ratings. The pilot was viewed by 1.4 million viewers; by the time of the finale, “Felina”, the programme had earned 10.28 viewers. But why do so many people, including myself, hail it as the bastion of all drama? Why did it become so popular? Well, let’s have a look, shall we?
So here we are, a good way into 2014, and I haven’t posted anything here in a while. So what better way to start again than by going through my top 5 albums of 2013? There’s probably several, but hey, let’s try it anyway.
NOTE: This editorial in particular was written as part of a portfolio for a university application. So enjoy as I try to talk about things that the reader doesn’t understand. If anything seems to be dumbed down or over-explained, that’s why.
A young Chicago producer called Kanye Omari West arrived to mainstream music on the wave of “chipmunk soul” – the speeding up of soul samples he and Just Blaze pioneered on Jay Z’s The Blueprint in 2001. 3 years later, West released his debut album The College Dropout on Jay Z’s Roc-a-Fella Records, a hard-fought Journey where people refused to support him as a rapper. West was humble; he arrived unlike any other rapper in the game, wearing polo shirts, avoiding the stereotypical “cars and rims” and approaching social commentary with a sense of calm.
Almost a decade later, West is no longer the man he once was. The humble eccentric has been turned (through telethon incidents and award show escapades) into an egotistical hermit one paparazzi encounter away from reenacting Columbine on the press. The man who seemed like he was above the dredges of celebrity has started a family with one of the biggest reality TV stars, Kim Kardashian. This is a broken man, shrieking “visionary streams of consciousness” at his concerts and flipping out on interviewers like Sway Calloway (“You ain’t got the answers, Sway!” must be quote of the year).
We’re just over half way through 2013, so I think it’s time for my mandatory top 3 albums of the year so far. Go easy with the reviews for this rushed sequel.